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Member for Granville and Chair of both the Lebanese and Egyptian MCC Tony Issa today confirmed the NSW Government’s support for the skilled migration program that helps address specific skill shortages in the State.

Last week Premier Barry O’Farrell spoke out after Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Federal Labor Government launched an attack on the 457 skilled migration visa program.

The 457 visa is the most common way for employers to temporarily sponsor skilled overseas workers to work in Australia. Visa holders may be employed for a period of between three months and four years.

“As the Member for Granville I am blessed to have in my community people in all walks of life from Middle Eastern, Asian, Oriental, African and European backgrounds, ” Tony Issa said.

“We don’t want to see a situation where people who can make significant social, cultural and economic contributions to NSW are shut out due to Federal Labor’s desperate re-election efforts.”

Tony Issa said, despite record nurses and doctors being trained, the NSW Health system still relied heavily on 2,800 lawful 457 visas holders.

“More than 1,000 are doctors and 1,600 are nurses,” he said.

“This means 44 doctors and nurses in the Western Sydney Local Health District that serve the local community.

“Julia Gillard and Federal Labor’s attack on 457 visas would put a wrecking ball through our public hospitals.

“If you take those highly skilled migrants out of our health system it would quite simply collapse.

“It’s extraordinary that Julia Gillard and Federal Labor would seek to attack hardworking legal migrants while failing to stop illegal migrations.

“I call on Federal Labor candidates The Hon Jason Clare MP, Member for Blaxland, Julie Owens MP, Member for Parramatta and The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Member for McMahon who, up until last month, was the Minister for Immigration to clarify where they stand on this issue and to back legal and skilled migration.

“This is a nation built on immigration and the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will always stand up multicultural Australia,”  Tony Issa concluded.


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